Quantum information science is a new field of science and technology. It is an interdisciplinary subject where physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers have made major contributions. Deep links between the previously unrelated disciplines of quantum physics and computer science/information theory have been forged. On the one hand there have been insights into fundamental issues in physics. On the other, totally new methods of computation, communication and information processing have emerged. New technologies have also arisen offering, for example, the potential for immense computing power and secure communications.
Quantum information science is one of the most dynamic areas in the physical sciences and in information/computation theory, and new ideas and phenomena are appearing at a remarkable rate. There are also very many open questions and fundamental issues to be understood.
Some of the challenges on which we expect the programme to focus include characterising and quantifying non-local properties of quantum states and quantum operations; understanding what features of quantum mechanics are responsible for the power of quantum computation and communication; developing new quantum algorithms; identifying novel tasks in which the physical nature of the qubit is important (recent examples include frame alignment and clock synchronisation); calculating the capacities of quantum channels, and identifying new communication tasks, particularly in the multi-party case; investigating distributed and interactive computation; identifying cryptographic tasks which are candidates for novel quantum protocols.
A notable feature of the field is that despite the very large number of results that have appeared, it still lacks organising principles; a particular aim of the programme will be to develop more in the nature of structural understanding of the subject. A further aim is to encourage the interest of pure mathematicians in the area.